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UK digital ad spend jumped to £10.5bn in the first half of the year

UK digital ad spend has leaped by its biggest half-year percentage since IAB UK started recording spend bi-annually. The H1 Adspend update, released today, revealed a 49% year-on-year (YoY) increase to £10.5 billion, as the industry showed the full strength of its pandemic recovery.

The IAB puts the huge growth down to businesses and advertisers being better prepared for the third national lockdown at the start of the year, as well as the strength of the ecommerce market, improving production logistics, the success of the UK vaccine programme, and increasing consumer confidence across all age groups.

“The pandemic forced businesses to either accelerate or improve their ecommerce offering to cater to a nation of housebound consumers – we saw three years of change take place in just three months,” said Jon Mew, IAB UK CEO. “Advertisers in turn adopted a more digital-heavy strategy as it was the medium least impacted by lockdowns. Meanwhile, the surge in video spend runs parallel to an explosion in short form video content and a move from advertisers to harness this as a vehicle for effective brand building.”

Search remains the biggest digital channel in the UK, matching the 49% recorded overall to reach £5.5 billion. Meanwhile, the display market recorded growth of 55%. Within display, video the stand out performer was video, which was up 70% YoY to £2.3 billion. Mobile, which now makes up 64% of all digital investment, grew 75% YoY.

“The results of the first six months of digital ad spend are really encouraging,” said Stephanie Claxton, Senior Manager at PwC. “Not only have we seen the growth we expected on 2020 but also 42% growth on 2019. This is testament to the breadth of offerings available to advertisers in digital and the critical roles they play.”